Tragedy in Linstead
Cop killed by man of unsound mind; attacker shot dead by policeSaturday, September 25, 2021
BY HORACE MILLS
LINSTEAD, St Catherine — The country's deficiency in the management of mentally ill people yesterday screamed through the grief that permeated this town, where a mentally challenged man was shot dead by cops after he killed one of their own with the throw of a stone.
The late detective constable, Paul Gordon, worked at Linstead Police Station.
His 25-year-old killer, Alwayne Shakespeare, better known as Al, maintained years of notoriety for carrying out vicious attacks on unsuspecting people in Linstead.
He cheated death a few years ago when he was chopped severely for hitting a woman repeatedly with his fist. His other attacks, sometimes carried out with weapons, are said to be numerous.
Shakespeare's mother, Idolyn Roman, just over a month ago made an impassioned appeal for the authorities to help her get her son off the streets, considering his propensity for violence.
She went public while claiming that her many private pleas had gone unheeded.
Yesterday, a weeping sister of the mentally challenged man, on hearing of the tragic series of events, told the Jamaica Observer she was “disappointed”.
She declined to divulge her name, claiming that her family had recently received death threats due to her brother's alleged transgressions.
“Many times wi go to the police station and ask them just to assist us with him [Shakespeare], and there is no help,” she told the Observer. "People may feel that the family didn't want to take him off the road or so on, but mi wouldn't seh that. The family just nuh have certain things. We call one home an dem seh it would cost $40,000 a month to keep my brother. Wi couldn't find that kind of money.”
Saddened that her brother's last vicious attack had now claimed a life, she expressed her condolence to the family of the slain cop.
She noted that her family had long feared the worst would have happened — and it did, starting shortly before 7 o'clock yesterday morning on the sidewalk outside Sinclair's Bargain Centre on King Street in Linstead.
That area is relatively close to Linstead Police Station, where Detective Constable Gordon had shown up for work.
Not in uniform, he left his office and was walking into Linstead town to use an ATM when Shakespeare hurled a stone, hitting him, in an unprovoked attack. The lawman fell to the sidewalk, grimacing in pain and bleeding from the head, eyewitnesses told the Observer.
Even as news of the incident spread throughout Linstead, information emerged that the mentally challenged Shakespeare was cut down by police in Linstead Market.
Some residents have claimed the cops used excessive force but the official police report said Shakespeare was shot after he confronted police with a machete. The Independent Commission of Investigations has launched a probe into the matter, and has appealed for eyewitnesses to come forward.
Amateur videos show that, moments after Shakespeare was shot, he was placed on a handcart driven by a civilian.
That civilian, accompanied by police officers, pushed the handcart through Linstead Market, away from the scene of the shooting.
When the handcart came to a standstill on King Street, a police officer lifted Shakespeare and threw him into the back of a police jeep.
By that time, a number of people had converged around the vehicle, trying to get a glimpse of Shakespeare.
Some of them openly rejoiced over his killing, citing his frequent violent attacks in the town.
Councillor for the Linstead division Herbert Garriques said the health ministry has not been doing enough to assist mentally ill people who have been harming residents in the streets of Linstead.
“A whole heap a people complain, and a whole heap a damage him [Shakespeare] do to people... A whole heap of sick people like that are in Linstead... There should have been a mental health department at the clinic in Linstead, and I am told that for whatever reason it has been transferred to Knollis in Bog Walk,” Garriques told the Observer.
He noted that some families don't have the necessary resources to deal with violent relatives who have mental issues.
“A mentally challenged person needs to go to Bellevue [Hospital] for rehabilitation. This [incident in Linstead] is a shame on the State. There are some little things that we can do better in this country, but it seems like wi nuh care,” the councillor added.